Google today held the opening keynote for its I/O 2017 developer conference, where among news about the first Android O public beta, Google Assistant on iOS, and Google Lens, the firm announced that it's working with HTC, Lenovo, and Qualcomm on standalone VR devices.
Previously, headsets that used the company's Daydream platform required that a smartphone be inserted into the device. Other companies use this method as well, such as Samsung and Alcatel. On the other side are head-mounted displays (HMDs) that are required to be tethered to a PC, such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and any of the Windows Mixed Reality HMDs that are coming later this year.
But Google's new devices won't require any of that. These will be among the first virtual reality headsets that are completely untethered, requiring no additional hardware. They use inside-out tracking with Google's WorldSense technology, which means that users won't need external cameras.
As you can see from the images, there are no real pictures of the hardware to look at right now, so we'll learn more later this year. Google said that it is working with Qualcomm to create a hardware reference design for the new generation of untethered headsets.
Both HTC and Lenovo are already working on virtual reality projects, with HTC most notably having the Vive on the market. Lenovo will be releasing a Windows Mixed Reality HMD later this year as well, so the company is hedging its bets.
Naturally, we don't know anything about pricing; only that these devices will be available in late 2017.